Saturday, December 18, 2010

Leight on Light

On December 14th, Foreign Policy published an article Let There be Light by Charles Kenney which discussed the advances in the developed world in regards to the lightbulb and compared it to the lack of access to electricity grids and energy in the developing world.

There are many development initiatives throughout the developing world to improve access to clean water, healthy and nutrient rich foods, malarial drugs, mosquito nets, education for children and women, HIV-prevention and antiretroviral drugs. However, to my knowledge (I haven't done any googling on this subject), there has not been a larger movement to provide light in an efficient, environmentally friendly and accessible way.

A great public diplomacy initiative--that could be a public-private partnership between governments, NGOs and the corporate sector--could be "light accessibility". The above article mentioned that children in India did better in school when they had access to light because it provided more time to study. The public-private campaign could focus on education -- Light for Learning, and wherever educational training is offered by governments (or UN programs) to local teachers, NGOs could fund-raise with corporate sponsorship (CSR or globe engagement projects) to provide light to children outside of the classroom.  These partner corporations, some of which must be in the electricity/LED/solar technology businesses could sponsor/fundraise with the NGOs in order to provide the newest light technology LED lightbulbs powered by batteries, recharged by the sun to each child (and in turn families). This would not only provide much needed access to more energy efficient, cost saving, environmentally friendly light products, but also facilitate the education of young children who with better education have future opportunities and more access to help their family and country.

Education is the key to a better future for all people, sustainable development is essential for a healthier planet, mix the two goals together, and voila, Light for Learning. 

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